Buy Coffee to Provide Water, Says Toms Founder Blake Mycoskie

( [email protected] ) Mar 13, 2014 11:29 AM EDT
(Photo : Getty Images)
One of Mycoskie's titles at Toms is Chief Shoe Giver

Toms plans to give an underprivileged African or South American water for a week, for every bag of coffee they sell.  Remember the simple, comfortable shoes that all the hipsters and youth pastor were wearing a few years back, that somehow, philanthropically put shoes on poor kids feet?  Well if you don't, over 15 million kids worldwide do, and Toms founder Blake Mycoskie wants to use his one-to-one business model to share the love with water this time.  

The give-back company, which sells shoes and eyewear under a business model they made famous with their line of shoes, where they donate a pair to someone in need every time they make a sale, is getting into the coffee business.  The one-for-one model was made so popular that others, like Skechers, copied it.  

Toms made the announcement Tuesday in Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest festival. The company opened a cafe there, one of many planned in the US to sell the coffee.  

For its latest venture, Toms will work with Water for People, a nonprofit group that works to provide safe drinking water all over the world.

"Through my travels, I found that some of the greatest coffee comes from developing countries," said Toms founder Blake Mycoskie in a statement. "I learned that the largest ingredient in coffee is water, and that in many of the countries producing coffee, there are huge populations of people without access to safe water."

Nearly 2 million people worldwide, don't have access to safe drinking water.  Many die from dehydration and diseases, and many other problems that come from living under such a harsh condition.  

Toms Roasting Co. will sell six coffee varieties from countries that include Rwanda, Peru and Malawi in hopes of easing the plight of some water-starved people. The 12-ounce bags of coffee will retail for $12.99 and will be sold on Toms' website and at Toms cafes, and at Whole Foods Market.

Founded in 2006, Toms began selling shoes with a plan to give back to someone in need according to Mycoskie. Three years ago, the company expanded into eyewear and sales of those products helped them donate glasses and fund glaucoma surgeries for people around the world.

Mycoskie said in the announcement that he plans to introduce a new product with the one-to-one business model every year.

Toms founder Blake Mycoskie
Toms founder Blake Mycoskie at the Toms Cafe opening in Austin. (Photo : Getty Images) 

Like people responded to the very successful, ethically-minded, one-for-one shoe business and eyewear business, Mycoskie is hopeful they will also respond in the same way to coffee.  

He wants to "turn your daily ritual, into your daily act of kindness," according to the company website.   

To date, the company has donated more than 15 million pairs of shoes and restored the vision of nearly half a million people.   

Tags : Toms, Mycoskie